Resource Round-Up: Learner Agency

May 1, 2021

Learner agency is the initiative and ability to act in a way that produces meaningful change in oneself or the environment. It’s also an important part of student-centered education. Below is a list of resources that can help educators promote learner agency so that students feel empowered to solve problems, make changes and construct the way learning happens in their classrooms and schools. 

Altitude Learning

Shifts towards sharing learning and co-constructing lessons are just two of the five trends that increase learner agency in the classroom. This article highlights shifts in power and priorities that can improve the ways students exercise their autonomy and ownership.


An important part of learner agency is the ability for students to self-advocate. In virtual environments, it is important for learners to feel that they can approach an educator when they need help, have questions or want to share ideas. This article describes moves educators can make to help learner agency flourish online. 

Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC)

Teachers from Arizona describe the three stages they saw their students go through as they increased their agency by using formative assessments themselves. They also elaborate on how they supported students’ progress along the way.

Getting Smart

After a 2015 study from Harvard suggested that student agency may be as an important outcome as basic skills, Tom Vander Ark provides ten techniques educators can implement in their classrooms to improve learner agency. He also emphasizes ways schools can structure supports like advisories to empower students.

Explore the toolkit designed to increase student self-direction and other 21st century skills. Educators will find different resources that can spark ideas on how to motivate and engage students. The goal: for students to exercise agency when constructing lessons, supplying feedback and making choices that affect their learning.

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